homeaboutarchivepodcastnewslettermembership!
aboutarchivepodcastmembership!
aboutarchivemembers!

kottke.org posts about meditative

Self-Medicating Media: Relax in Online Ambiance Rooms

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 23, 2021

From the NY Times on The Soothing, Digital Rooms of YouTube, a genre of video that pairs animated scenery with ambient soundscapes:

The genre is a close cousin of A.S.M.R. (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos, which are meant to evoke the pleasant brain-tingling sensation that some people experience when they hear sounds like hair brushing, nail tapping and soft whispers.

But ambience videos are differentiated, their creators say, by their purpose — not necessarily to give the tingles, but to relax and soothe a viewer by means of an immersive experience.

These videos all have names like Underwater Study Room, Cozy Cabin in the mountains, Jazz Bar in Paris, and Forest Sounds. They’re related to slow TV and other meditative videos I’ve posted over the years (e.g. the idling Arctic icebreaker & Tibetan singing bowl music. In the article, Helle Breth Klausen calls this genre “self-medicating media”.

30 Minutes of Relaxing Visuals from Studio Ghibli

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 19, 2021

This. This is the stuff. Lapping water, wind through the tall grass, patient trains, birds, rolling countryside, mountains, sleeping, castles in motion, and more calm scenes compiled from Studio Ghibli movies.

See also hundreds of Studio Ghibli backgrounds for your Zoom calls and 10 Hours of Extremely Relaxing Ocean Scenes & 40 Hours of Relaxing Planet Earth II Sounds, both from BBC Earth. (via laura olin)

Orbit the Moon in Realtime

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 29, 2021

Using images from the Kaguya orbiter, Seán Doran has constructed a 4-hour realtime orbit of the Moon. Feel free to pair with your favorite piece of relaxing music for a meditative viewing experience.

See also another video by Doran: An Incredible Video of What It’s Like to Orbit the Earth for 90 Minutes.

A Relaxing Walk Through the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 23, 2020

It’s unfortunate that places like the Brooklyn Botanic Garden need to be closed during this stressful time, because the cherry blossoms are in bloom right now and what a balm that would be to so many souls. Luckily, cinematographer Nic Petry was granted access to the garden a couple of weeks ago to capture a relaxing and meditative walk through the Japanese Garden.

The historic garden is one of the oldest extant Japanese gardens in the United States, and its collection of cherry cultivars was in lovely bloom during filming. Petry, a specialist in moving camera techniques, conceived the piece as a way to recreate the meditative experience of walking through the garden on a glorious, early spring day.

(via laura olin)

Update: See also Gothamist’s photos and drone video of the cherry blossoms this year.

Update: Now that more cherry trees are in blossom at the garden, they have uploaded a video of a walk through the esplanade.

Lovely and Relaxing Videos of Traditional Countryside Life in China

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 20, 2019

Li Ziqi is a woman who lives in Sichuan province in China with her grandmother, preparing food and making clothing from scratch without the use of modern technology (mostly). Her YouTube channel has more than 5.7 million subscribers. In this video, she makes a purple wool cloak for the winter:

Her practice of shooting the videos herself, her reliance on traditional techniques, and her editing style is strongly reminiscent of the Primitive Technology channel — her videos are meditative in the same way. I watched this video of her making jam this morning and was left both hungry and relaxed, an unusual combination:

(via @juririm)

Relax to the Sounds of Tibetan Singing Bowl Music

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 17, 2019

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but if you’re in need of some relaxing sounds, a meditative moment, or a chill work soundtrack, I recommend this 71-minute video of Tibetan singing bowl music.

See also Hours and Hours of Relaxing & Meditative Videos.

Everything Is Just a Happening

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 18, 2019

This guided meditation by Alan Watts really helped me this morning. (There’s a version without music as well.)

From The Practice of Meditation:

Simply sit down, close your eyes, and listen to all sounds that may be going on — without trying to name or identify them. Listen as you would listen to music. If you find that verbal thinking will not drop away, don’t attempt to stop it by force of will-power. Just keep your tongue relaxed, floating easily in the lower jaw, and listen to your thoughts as if they were birds chattering outside — mere noise in the skull — and they will eventually subside of themselves, as a turbulent and muddy pool will become calm and clear if left alone.

Also, become aware of breathing and allow your lungs to work in whatever rhythm seems congenial to them. And for a while just sit listening and feeling breath. But, if possible, don’t call it that. Simply experience the non-verbal happening. You may object that this is not “spiritual” meditation but mere attention to the “physical” world, but it should be understood that the spiritual and the physical are only ideas, philosophical conceptions, and that the reality of which you are now aware is not an idea. Furthermore, there is no “you” aware of it. That was also just an idea. Can you hear yourself listening?

And then begin to let your breath “fall” out, slowly and easily. Don’t force or strain your lungs, but let the breath come out in the same way that you let yourself slump into a comfortable bed. Simply let it go, go, and go. As soon as there is the least strain, just let it come back in as a reflex; don’t pull it in. Forget the clock. Forget to count. Just keep it up for so long as you feel the luxury of it.

(via open culture)

An Incredible Video of What It’s Like to Orbit the Earth for 90 Minutes

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 07, 2018

This is easily the most awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping thing I’ve seen in months. In its low Earth orbit ~250 miles above our planet, the International Space Station takes about 90 minutes to complete one orbit of the Earth. Fewer than 600 people have ever orbited our planet, but with this realtime video by Seán Doran, you can experience what it looks like from the vantage point of the IIS for the full 90 minutes.

The video is in 4K so find the largest monitor/TV you can, turn up the sound, watch for awhile (even if it’s only for a few minutes), and see if you don’t experience a little bit of the Overview Effect, what NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan described as a life-altering experience:

I first saw the earth — the whole earth — from the shuttle Challenger in 1984. The view takes your breath away and fills you with childlike wonder. An incredibly beautiful tapestry of blue and white, tan, black and green seems to glide beneath you at an elegant, stately pace. But you’re actually going so fast that the entire map of the world spins before your eyes with each 90-minute orbit. After just one or two laps, you feel, maybe for the first time, like a citizen of a planet.

We could use more global citizenry these days.

Hours and Hours of Relaxing & Meditative Videos

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 06, 2018

Today is Election Day in the US and even President Obama is saying these elections “might be the most important of our lifetimes”. Everyone is a liiiittle on edge. Instead of exhorting you to go vote, I dug through the kottke.org archives for some videos to watch if you need a calm moment or hour or entire afternoon and deep into the evening’s election returns.

From the BBC Earth team, long videos of relaxing sounds and scenes from their groundbreaking documentaries like Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II (more here):

A 10-hour version of the world’s most relaxing song:

This is one of my personal favorites, a Norwegian icebreaker idling in the frozen Arctic — “natural white noise sounds generated by the wind and snow falling, combined with deep low frequencies with delta waves from the powerful icebreaker idling engines”:

A 30-day time lapse of a container ship traveling from the Red Sea to Hong Kong:

Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune is always relaxing and is the perfect accompaniment to snow surfing, an acrobatic art performance, and a tour of the Moon:

A realtime orbit of the Earth in 92 minutes, as seen from the International Space Station:

Somehow, watching someone unslice a tomato is super relaxing:

Recording of a live view of a Norwegian train making its way through the wintery countryside:

Julian Baumgartner restoring a damaged painting:

90-minute video of the sea filmed from the bow of a container ship (no sound but you could combine w/ the most relaxing song):

An 18-minute tour of the International Space Station:

One of Michael Shainblum’s many nature time lapse videos:

A 24-hour generative soundtrack to a trip around Iceland by Sigur Rós (thx, lisa):

This isn’t relaxing but it is funny — a meditation guided by a Dalek:

That’s all I’ve got. Do you have any particular favorites I haven’t posted? Let me know!

Live Stream of a Norwegian Train

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 30, 2018

If you need a moment of relaxation today, check out this live feed of a Norwegian train making its journey through the wintery countryside. A fine example of slow TV.

A Relaxing Acrobatic Performance to Debussy’s Clair de Lune

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 06, 2018

Choreographer & acrobat Yoann Bourgeois and pianist Alexandre Tharaud have collaborated on a performance that combines a trampoline, a staircase, and Claude Debussy’s most famous composition, Clair de Lune. Even though I’ve seen a performance from Bourgeois before and knew what was coming, that first drop onto the trampoline was startling.

Three is a trend: slowly shredding some pow to classical music and Clair de Lune in the moonlight. (via @alexchabotl)

Watching an Art Conservator Restore a Damaged Painting

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 20, 2018

There’s something so relaxing about watching art conservator Julian Baumgartner restore this damaged painting, a self-portrait by Italian painter Emma Gaggiotti Richards. I love how he paints tiny cracks in the damaged areas to match those in the rest of the painting.

There are many more videos and photos of Baumgartner’s restoration process on Instagram and YouTube. (via the kid should see this)

Clair de Lune in the Moonlight

posted by Jason Kottke   Aug 16, 2018

NASA recently published this visualization of sunrises and sunsets on the Moon set to the strains of Claude Debussy’s most famous work, Clair de Lune.

The visuals were composed like a nature documentary, with clean cuts and a mostly stationary virtual camera. The viewer follows the Sun throughout a lunar day, seeing sunrises and then sunsets over prominent features on the Moon. The sprawling ray system surrounding Copernicus crater, for example, is revealed beneath receding shadows at sunrise and later slips back into darkness as night encroaches.

A lovely way to spend five minutes. (thx, gina)

10 Hours of Extremely Relaxing Ocean Scenes

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 08, 2018

From BBC Earth, the team behind Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II, a 10-hour video of soothing oceanscapes: whales swimming, jellyfish pulsing, fish swarming, sharks circling, and rays swooping.

This is super chill, but if I were an EDM DJ, I’d put this up on the screen behind me during my shows and just go nuts with the music.

See also 40+ hours of relaxing Planet Earth II sounds.

Slowly Shredding Some Pow to Classical Music

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 25, 2018

Glide along with this snowboarder as he surfs his way through a powdery forest to the strains of Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune. I’ve watched this twice now; it’s super relaxing. A fine antidote to the typical extreme sports video. (via the kid should see this)

Beautiful 30-day Time Lapse of a Cargo Ship’s Voyage

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 18, 2017

Jeffrey Tsang is a sailor on a cargo ship. On a recent voyage from the Red Sea to Sri Lanka to Singapore to Hong Kong, he set up a camera facing the bow of the ship to record the month-long journey. From ~80,000 photos taken, he constructed a 10-minute time lapse that somehow manages to be both meditative and informative. You get to see cargo operations at a few different ports, sunrises, thunderstorms, and the clearest night skies you’ve ever seen. Highly recommended viewing. (via colossal)

40 Hours of Relaxing Planet Earth II Sounds

posted by Jason Kottke   Jul 24, 2017

The producers of Planet Earth II (aka probably the best thing I’ve watched in the past year) shot a loooooot of footage for the program. Most of it got cut, but they’ve cut some of it together into these 10-hour videos of relaxing sights and sounds. So far, they’ve done mountains, the jungle, island, and desert.

The Relaxing Sounds of an Arctic Icebreaker

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 07, 2017

Need to sleep, focus on work, get away from the news, meditate, or just tickle your ASMR receptors? Try 10 hours of ambient noise from a Norwegian icebreaker idling in the frozen Arctic.

10 hours video of Arctic ambience with frozen ocean, ice cracking, snow falling, icebreaker idling and distant howling wind sound. Natural white noise sounds generated by the wind and snow falling, combined with deep low frequencies with delta waves from the powerful icebreaker idling engines, recorded at 96 kHz — 24 bit and designed for relaxation, meditation, study and sleep.

That is some “Calgon take me away”-level shit. See also the most relaxing song in the world. (via bb)

Relaxing Time Lapse Videos

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 09, 2016

Michael Shainblum makes time lapse videos of nature, landscapes, and cities, and some of them are very relaxing to watch. The resolution on these is great, so make ‘em big, sit back, and enjoy. (via bb)

The Most Relaxing Song in the World

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 15, 2016

According to a marketing study conducted by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, the most relaxing song in the world is Weightless, by ambient band Marconi Union. The song was produced by the band in collaboration with the British Academy of Sound Therapy.

The song makes use of many musical principles that have been shown to individually have a calming effect. By combining these elements in the way Marconi Union have has created the perfect relaxing song. The study found this to be the world’s most relaxing song. It contains a sustaining rhythm that starts at 60 beats per minute and gradually slows to around 50. While listening, your heart rate gradually comes to match that beat.

Many songs were tested and found to relax the participants, but Weightless stood out:

In fact, listening to that one song — “Weightless” — resulted in a striking 65 percent reduction in participants’ overall anxiety, and a 35 percent reduction in their usual physiological resting rates.

This is a “neuromarketing” study conducted on behalf of a company that makes bubble bath and shower gel so grain of salt and all that, but it is a remarkably relaxing song. Here’s a Spotify playlist of ten of the most relaxing songs from the study:

And right now I’m listening to this 10-hour version of Weightless on YouTube:

Awwwww. Much better than the Black Mirror music from this morning.

Gorgeous Ultra HD Fly-Through of the Inside of the International Space Station

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 28, 2016

NASA has uploaded a beautiful and relaxing 18-minute fly-through video of the International Space Station filmed in ultra high-definition 4K resolution. They used to a fisheye lens to film it, which means you get plenty of detail and depth of field.

Live: Sigur Ros Circles Iceland with Generative Soundtrack

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 20, 2016

Icelandic band Sigur Rós is doing a live slow TV event: a broadcast of a drive around the entirety of Iceland with a soundtrack generated by software based on a new song of theirs.

driving anti-clockwise round the island, the journey will pass by many of the country’s most notable landmarks, including vatnajökull, europe’s largest ice-sheet; the glacial lagoon, jökulsárlón; as well as the east fjords and the desolate black sands of möðrudalur.

the soundtrack to the journey is being created moment-by-moment via generative music software. the individual musical elements of unreleased song, and current sigur rós festival set opener, óveður, are seeded through the evolving music app bronze, to create a unique ephemeral sonic experience. headphones, external speakers and full-screen viewing are recommended.

The Unlikely Relaxation of Watching 6000 Matches Burn

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 22, 2016

Lighting 6000 closely grouped wooden matchsticks takes less than a minute, but waiting for the resulting fire to extinguish takes quite a bit longer and is surprisingly relaxing to watch. (Two is a trend, right…it is also surprisingly relaxing and satisfying to watch a tomato being unsliced. Is there an entire genre of videos like this out there?) (via digg)

Relax and Watch Someone Unslice a Tomato

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 15, 2016

It’s so soothing and satisfying watching this person unslicing tomatoes. (via digg)

Primitive Technology

posted by Jason Kottke   Feb 22, 2016

My new favorite YouTube channel is called Primitive Technology. It features mostly silent videos of an Australian man making and building things using only Stone Age technology. He built a hut out of mud, sticks, and leaves:

He made his own charcoal:

To make the charcoal the wood was broken up and stacked in to a mound with the largest pieces in the center and smaller sticks and leaves on the out side. The mound was coated in mud and a hole was left in the top while 8 smaller air holes were made around the base of the mound. A fire was kindled in the top of the mound using hot coals from the fire and the burning process began.

He’s also made an axe, a sling, baskets, and a cord drill for starting fires…all completely from scratch. Here’s the accompanying blog. (via @craigmod & sarah)

The Endlessly Rolling Ocean

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 23, 2015

If you’d like to relax for 80 minutes, watch this 4K video shot from the bow of a container ship navigating the South China Sea. Strangely compelling.

If you put this on the biggest, highest definition screen you have, it really looks like you’re on the deck of a ship looking out at the ocean. Pretty cool.

Slow Motion Surfing

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 31, 2014

You know what’s pretty? Big waves and surfing in slow motion. Take a break and relax at 1000 fps with this mesmerizing video.

The Hans Zimmer soundtrack only adds to the effect. (via ★interesting)